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CODE 70044
  • 5 cfu during the 1st year of 8762 SCIENZE BIOLOGICHE (L-13) - GENOVA
  • SEMESTER 2° Semester
    MODULES This unit is a module of:



    The course provides the acquisition of fundamental notions about the cell, the anatomical plant tissues and structure in the various groups. It also deals with developmental mechanisms and with the different modes of propagation and reproduction of plant organisms, especially in Angiosperms.


    Specifically, the student will be able to:

    • explain and describe plant structure and function, with particular reference to terrestrial plants;
    • apply methods of histological and anatomical investigations of plant tissues and organs;
    • compare the reproductive cycles of the main plant taxonomic groups;
    • describe the structure and functions of reproductive organs of spermatophytes;
    • distinguish the main taxonomic groups of plant kingdom;
    • identify the main Angiosperm families and their use in daily human activities;
    • use the dichotomous recognition keys for spermatophytes identification;
    • describe the floral characteristics with floral diagram and formulas.


    The course will deal with the following main argument:


    Plant Biology, Morphology and Reproduction

    - Importance of plants for humans and other living beings. Affinities and differences between higher plants and higher animals.

    - The eukaryotic plant cell. Cell size, shape and organization. Notes on the different chemical compounds and on some cytoplasmic organelles.

    - Cell wall: cytodieresis and origin of the wall. Growth, functions and composition of the wall. Middle lamella, primary wall and secondary wall. Disperse weaving and parallel weaving. Apoplasto and simplasto (outline). Wall modifications (cutinization, lignification, suberification, mineralization, gelation, wax and gum deposition) and their functional significance.

    - Plastids: proplastids, chloroplasts and primary starch, etioplasts, leucoplasts and secondary starch (amylose and amylopectin), chromoplasts.

    - Vacuole: origin, development, functions. The vacuole as a site of accumulation of toxic compounds and secondary metabolites; importance of vacuolar inclusions in plant-animal relationships.

    - Plant organization: unicellulars, pluri-cellulars with pseudotissues, pluri-cellulars with tissues. Thallus and corm: conquest of the terrestrial environment and adaptations.

    - Cell growth by division and distension. The differentiation of the plant cell. Notes on the characteristics of Arabidopsis thaliana as an experimental model for plant biology.

    - Upper plant tissues: features, functions and location. Primary and secondary meristems; continued embryogeny and totipotency. Parenchymal tissues: chlorophyll, reserve, aeriferous, aquifer and conductor. Tegumental tissues: epidermis (stomatal systems and trichomes); rizoderma; endoderm; exoderm, periderm (formation of lenticels). External and internal segregation fabrics. Mechanical tissues: collenchima, sclerenchima. Conductive fabrics: xylem and phloem. Cribro-vascular bundles. The stele and its evolution.

    - The vegetative apparatuses of the corm. The root and its functions; primary and secondary structures; ramifications. The stem and its functions; stem anatomy in Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons (primary and secondary structures; annual circles; sapwood and duramen; homoxyl and eteroxyl wood); stem anatomy in Monocotyledons. Notes on the root-stem passage. The leaf and its functions; anatomy of some leaves of Gymnosperms; anatomy in Angiosperms: dorsoventral and isolateral leaf. Morpho-functional adaptations of leaves, with examples.

    - General information on the reproduction of eukaryotic plants. Vegetative reproduction. Reproduction by sporogony and outline of the transition from isosporia to heterosporia. Sexual reproduction in metagenetic cycles. The flower of the Angiosperms: morphology, functions; evolution of the floral parts. Micro- and macro- sporogenesis and gametogenesis, pollination, pregamy and double fertilization. The seed and its reserves. The first stages of germination and the young plant.



    - Introduction to systematic botany: Taxa and nomenclature; taxonomic systems. Metagenetic cycles

    - Eukaryotic algae: generalities, morphology, organization, reproduction and cycles. Systematics: Rhodophyta, Phaeophyta, Chrysophyta, Euglenophyta, Clorophyta, Charophyta.

    - Relief of plants from the aquatic environment Terrestrial plants: general taxonomic scheme.

    - Embryophytes: differences between Bryophytes and Tracheophyte

    - Bryophyta: generality, morphology, organization, systematics, reproduction and cycle

    - Pteridophyta (vascular cryptogams): general features, morphology and organization, reproduction and cycles of pteridophyte isosporea and heterosporea.

    - Spermatophyta: general characteristics; egg and seed, pollen.

    - Gymnosperms: generality, morphology and organization; reproductive organs, reproduction and cycle; Cytopophytes, Gingkophytes, Coniferophytes and Gnetophytes.

    - Angiosperms: generalities, morphology and organization; reproductive organs; flower, inflorescences; fruit; reproduction and cycle; Dicotyledons and Monocotyledons


    Laboratory and practical experiences

    - Observation techniques and analysis of plant material. Cutting and coloring techniques.

    - Observations of some elements of plant cytology: wall, vacuoles, amyloplasts, chloroplasts.

    - Morphological and anatomical observations of the apparatus constituting the corm. The root and its types; primary and secondary structures. The stem and its types; stem anatomy in Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons (primary and secondary structure) and Monocotyledons. The leaf and its types; anatomy of leaves of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms (dorsoventral and isolateral leaf).

    - Metamorphosis of root, stem and leaf.

    - Flower and inflorescences of Angiosperms: morphology and functions. Morphological and anatomical characteristics of the fruit with relevant examples.

    - Elements of phytognosy and use of dichotomous keys for the recognition of the main families of Dicotyledons and Monocotyledons. Presentation in the field of the main plant groups: mosses, ferns, Gymnosperms and Angiosperms with direct experiences.

    - Visit to the Hanbury Botanical Gardens for direct observation of all the topics covered in the course.

    - Field trip for live observations and harvesting of herbarium preparation material.


    Presentation slides

    Available on AulaWEB at the site

    When the lectures are performed on-line a video will be recorded


    Main texts:

    Speranza A. e Calzoni G. L. Struttura delle piante per immagini. Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna, 1996.

    Pasqua G., Abbate G., Forni C. Botanica generale e diversità vegetale. Ed. Piccin, Padova, 2019.


    Reference texts:

    Pancaldi S. et al., Fondamenti di Botanica generale- Teoria e pratica. McGraw-Hill, 2011

    Tripodi G. Introduzione alla Botanica sistematica EdiSES, 2006

    Rost et al. Biologia delle piante, Zanichelli, 2008.


    Anatomy tables of vascular plants:


    Other lessons in-depth analysis of various course topics, terminology, etc:


    Exam Board

    LAURA CORNARA (President)


    LUIGI MINUTO (President Substitute)

    GABRIELE CASAZZA (Substitute)



    The lessons of the first semester will start from September 23, 2020, and they will be completed by January 16, 2021. The lessons of the second semester will start from February 16, 2021 and will end by June 11, 2021. Refer to the detailed timetable below link:


    Exam schedule

    Date Time Location Type Notes
    25/01/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale Gli studenti devono iscriversi anche su aulaweb del corso o inviando una email ai docenti.
    26/01/2021 09:30 GENOVA Orale
    26/01/2021 09:30 GENOVA Orale appello annullato per inserimento appello supplementare a luglio.
    08/02/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale Gli studenti devono iscriversi anche su aulaweb del corso o inviando una email ai docenti.
    09/02/2021 09:30 GENOVA Orale
    09/02/2021 09:30 GENOVA Orale appello annullato per inserimento appello supplementare a luglio.
    07/04/2021 09:30 GENOVA Esame su appuntamento
    07/04/2021 09:30 GENOVA Esame su appuntamento
    14/06/2021 09:30 GENOVA Orale
    14/06/2021 09:30 GENOVA Orale appello annullato per inserimento appello supplementare a luglio.
    28/06/2021 09:30 GENOVA Orale appello annullato per inserimento appello supplementare a luglio.
    12/07/2021 09:30 GENOVA Orale appello annullato per inserimento appello supplementare a luglio.
    26/07/2021 09:30 GENOVA Orale
    02/09/2021 09:30 GENOVA Orale appello annullato per inserimento appello supplementare a luglio.
    16/09/2021 09:30 GENOVA Orale appello annullato per inserimento appello supplementare a luglio.